This was a lightning talk given at UpFrontConf on the 22nd of March 2019.
These are the words I intended to say, but it was my first ever talk on a stage, so whether I said any/all of them is a mystery!
There is a concept in agile called “The Prime Directive”. It was designed to be used in retrospectives to help build a safe place for people to talk honestly about their work and their team, but I think it is a more wide-reaching idea that is important to all areas - not just of work, but of life in general.
But why is this so important…??
I don’t know what any of you do for a job, but I am a full stack developer. My job requires a great deal of creativity, regardless of the domain I am working in at the time. I also work in a team, made up of intelligent, creative people. In order for us to work effectively together, we have to work in a positive atmosphere where people feel happy to share their ideas. We have to be able to communicate openly, and give and receive honest feedback and criticism. Most importantly we have to build a blame-free culture where people are not afraid to make - or admit to - mistakes.
This very hard to do.
When things go wrong, it is human nature to look for someone to blame. In that moment, it is cathartic - especially if that person is not you!
But what does this actually achieve?
- You destroy your team’s morale
- You waste a lot of energy not actually fixing the problem
- It’s incredibly arrogant. You don’t know the circumstances surrounding that code, there may be a good reason for it to be the way it is.
What from the outside looks like “Bad Code” may actually be the perfect solution….
There were some code examples in here, but I am not sure I want to publish them in their natural state… Lets just say there were some interesting decisions made, and none of them were without good reason. We all had a little laugh at the crazy, then I explained the situation and suddenly they all seemed less crazy. Which is kind of the whole point of the talk…